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Toledo Day Trip from Madrid: Things to Do & How to Visit (+Map)

Toledo Day Trip from Madrid: Things to Do & How to Visit (+Map)

Just a short journey from the bustling metropolis of Madrid, you’ll find one of the oldest and most unique cities in Spain – Toledo.

The former capital of the Spanish Empire and a melting pot of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences, Toledo boasts a rich heritage that unfolds through its winding cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. It’s often referred to as the City of Three Cultures.

Toledo is also one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. A visit here is truly like taking a trip back in time.

All this makes it a perfect destination to get a good introduction to Spain’s rich and diverse history. So it comes as no surprise that Toledo is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid.

But how to visit Toledo from Madrid and what are the very best places to see and top things do in Toledo in a day?

To help you plan your visit, we share a recommended Toledo day trip itinerary including all the must-sees. You will also find practical information on how to get from Madrid to Toledo, suggestions on where to eat, etc.

Good to know: This article is published with the help of a fellow travel writer Taylor Spinelli of Taylstravels. She recently worked in Madrid and took every opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings. Toledo is her absolute favorite day trip destination from Madrid and so all the tips in this guide are based on her personal experience. Take a look!

How to plan a day trip to Toledo from Madrid, Spain

How to Get to Toledo from Madrid

There are several options to choose from when traveling between Madrid and Toledo: by train, bus, car, or with a guided tour. Below, you can find more details and advantages/disadvantages of each.


Taking a train is the quickest way to reach Toledo from Madrid. It takes just a bit over half an hour each way.

Trains leave from Madrid-Puerta De Atocha-Almudena Grandes Station roughly every hour beginning from early morning until 9-10 pm. The cost of the round-trip ticket is around 28-32 Euros. You can find more information and book tickets online or at the station.

Good to know: The Toledo train station is about 20 minutes walk from the main part of the city. It’s walkable but a bit hilly. There are also taxis available outside the station.


This is the cheapest way to get from Madrid to Toledo. Depending on the bus schedule, the ride will take about 1-1.5 hours each way. Plus, the bus station is about 15-20 minutes walk from the old town (uphill when walking to town).

Buses leave from Madrid, Estación De Plaza Elíptica from around 7 am with frequent departures throughout the day. The cost of a roundtrip ticket is about 12-15 euros. You can find tickets on ALSA, or on the same website as for the trains.



You can also simply opt to rent a car and drive from Madrid to Toledo. Car hire is very affordable in Spain and without traffic, the ride should take just over an hour.

However, we don’t recommend renting a car for just a day trip to Toledo, but only if you are planning on visiting more places in the area and making a road trip. Take into account the time that it will take you to pick up (and drop off) the car, navigate both cities, find parking. Plus insurance, fuel, and parking costs, etc. We personally use and recommend this website for the best deals for car hire.

In Toledo, there are several options for parking. We recommend using parking garages since most metered parking spots have a 2-hour limit.


This is the most convenient way to visit Toledo on a day trip from Madrid. You don’t have to worry about transportation or where exactly to go and what to see. There are various options when it comes to organized trips: you can opt for a day tour that only visits Toledo or a tour that also visits Segovia.

Some tours cost about as much as a train ticket, others are more expensive. It really depends on the duration, group size, what is included, etc.

Here are the 5 best-rated day tours to Toledo from Madrid:

  1. Half-day tour (The main highlights of Toledo).
  2. 8-hour city + winery tour (Toledo city tour including some free time + winery visit).
  3. 8.5 hours Don Quixote de la Mancha Windmills and Toledo (The best tour if you want to see the famous windmills of Don Quixote as well as Toledo).
  4. 9-hour tour (Toledo city with free time to explore on your own).
  5. Full-day tour (Toledo and Segovia).
Don Quixote de la Mancha Windmills in Consuegra Spain
Don Quixote de la Mancha Windmills in Consuegra, about 50 minutes drive south of Toledo.

Map & Getting Around

As with most European cities, the best way to explore Toledo is on foot.

Thanks to its relatively small size and walkability, it is the perfect place to purposefully get yourself a little lost as you stroll through the small alleyways, along the river Tagus, and explore its many landmarks.

Keep in mind that Toledo’s walled old town is perched on a hill, with many steep cobbled streets, and the layout feels like a maze. While it adds to its charm, it also means that it’s not ideal for people with mobility issues. Furthermore, it can get really warm, so be sure to take some water with you.

Good to know: If you prefer not to walk too much, you can also take a tourist train. It passes many of the main landmarks in Toledo. You can find it at the main square, Plaza de Zocodover.

To help you orient and plan your time, we created a map of Toledo indicating all the places mentioned in this article. See below.

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.


Toledo Tourist Bracelet

Before we continue with a detailed itinerary, there is one more thing you may want to know when planning your visit. The most cost-effective way to see some of the main landmarks in Toledo in a single day is by getting the Toledo Tourist Bracelet (Pulsera Turística).

The Toledo Tourist Bracelet grants you access to the 7 most important landmarks in the city and costs about as much as three separate tickets for the same attractions. So if you visit 3 or more of these sites, it’s better to get the bracelet. It’s also free for children under 12.

The attractions included with the Toledo Tourist Bracelet are:

  • Church of the Savior (Iglesia del Salvador),
  • Church of Santo Tomé (Iglesia de Santo Tomé),
  • Ancient synagogue of Santa María la Blanca (Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca),
  • Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes (Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes),
  • Royal College of Noble Maidens (Real Colegio Doncellas Nobles),
  • Jesuit Church (Iglesia de los Jesuitas),
  • Former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz (Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz).

You can find more information about each of these places further below. They are all located relatively close to each other and don’t require much time to visit, so it’s possible to see them all in just a few hours.

Good to know: You can get the bracelet online or at any of the seven locations. If you book it in advance, you simply scan your smartphone ticket at the entrance and get the wristband. You can then visit any of the other sites in any order you prefer.

Cloisters of San Juan de los Reyes Monastery in Toledo Spain
Cloisters of San Juan de los Reyes Monastery – one of the 7 sites included with the Toledo Bracelet.

Toledo Day Trip: Things to Do & Itinerary

Below, you can find a detailed itinerary to help you plan your Toledo day trip. Please note that the hours are only indicated for your reference, to give you a rough idea of how you could plan your time.

Here’s what to see and do on a day trip in Toledo:

Arrival & Alcantara Bridge

8.30 – 10 AM.

Arriving in Toledo early is key if you want to experience the beauty of the city with few people around. Early risers will have the luxury of wandering without the crowds and viewing the city as the locals do.

We recommend taking the first train or bus from Madrid, grabbing a bite to eat, and then spending the next hour or so wandering through the old town. Ideally, you don’t even look at a map and just let yourself get lost in the fascinating labyrinth of the medieval town center. But not too long – because there are some ‘must-sees’ that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Toledo for the first time!

As you walk from the station to the old town, don’t miss the Alcantara Bridge over the River Tagus. This Roman bridge is one of the main entrance gates to the city and one of the best photo spots in all of Toledo. From the northeastern side, you can enjoy a nice view of the bridge itself and Toledo Alcazar and the old town towering behind it.

Breakfast: If you didn’t have time for breakfast in Madrid, or just want to sit down and have some coffee, you will find plenty of options in Toledo. One of our favorite spots for breakfast in Toledo’s old town is El Trébol (indicated on our map). It’s a great place to sample a variety of tapas. They offer a sweet and a savory menu, allowing you to mix and match.

Alternatively, get some coffee and churros. The cinnamon sticks dipped in a rich and velvety chocolate can be found all over Spain and are usually eaten for breakfast. Churreria Chocolateria Santo Tome 27 near the Church of Santo Tomé is a great place for traditional churros in Toledo.

Alcantara Bridge in Toledo Spain
Alcantara Bridge.

Toledo Cathedral

10 – 11.30 AM.

If there’s one spot you cannot miss on your first visit, it is the Cathedral, aka Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo (The Primatial Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo).

This remarkable Gothic masterpiece with Renaissance and Mudéjar influences is the most impressive architectural gem in Toledo. It’s the second-largest Cathedral in Spain (after the one in Seville) and is constantly ranked among the most beautiful churches in the country.

In addition to its magnificent architecture, the Cathedral is also a real treasure trove of artistic wonders. Do not miss the exquisite artworks of El Greco, Velázquez, Rubens, Titian, Goya, Bellini, and Caravaggio.

TIP: There is A LOT to see and learn about this fascinating church. So be sure to get the audio tour (available at the entrance for a small additional cost, on top of the ticket price). Alternatively, join a guided tour. Without this, you will miss too much!

Good to know: Plan to stay for around 1-1.5 hours to fully enjoy everything that there’s to see inside.

Practical information: The Cathedral is open daily from 10 AM to 6.30 PM, except on Sundays and some holidays when it’s only open in the afternoon. So if you are visiting on a Sunday, you’ll have to adjust this itinerary a bit. See the official website for more info.

Toledo Cathedral (Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo) in Spain
Toledo Cathedral.

Next, visit the main sites included with the earlier-mentioned Toledo Tourist Bracelet. You don’t have to see them all, but since Toledo is the “City of Three Cultures”, we recommend seeing at least one monument from each of the three notable religions in the city.

We listed the landmarks included with the Toledo Tourist Bracelet by location, starting with the ones closest to the Cathedral, walking clockwise, and ending with the ones closest to the train/bus stations. But you can visit them in any order and/or skip the ones that don’t interest you.

Jesuit Church

11.30 – NOON.

Jesuit Church (Iglesia de los Jesuitas) is one of the ‘newer’ churches in Toledo. The church was built in the 18th century at the location of the house where Saint Ildefonsus, Patron Saint of Toledo, was born.

This beautiful Baroque church has a grand interior with ornate altars and exquisite chapels and is well worth seeing. But the main reason to come here is not the church itself, but the stunning views it offers!

You can visit its 50-meter tall towers and climb the 138 steps to reach an incredible view over the medieval city. Sandwiched in between the Cathedral and Alcazar, this view is hard to beat!

With plenty of churches to visit in Toledo, Iglesia de los Jesuitas may just seem like one of many… but do not skip this one.

Toledo city view from Jesuit Church - Toledo day trip from Madrid
City view from the Jesuit Church.

Church of the Savior

12.15 – 12.30 PM.

Church of the Savior (Iglesia del Salvador) is one of Toledo’s oldest churches dating from the Middle Ages.

This small church has an extensive history as it was once a Visigoth Church and then a Mosque before becoming the Christian Church it is today. The architecture reflects the blend between these three cultures and makes this church worth paying a visit.

TIP: Don’t miss the underground archeological site and a tower where you can go up for a rooftop view.

Iglesia del Salvador in Toledo Spain
The archeological site at the Church of the Savior – Photo diegograndi/

Church of Santo Tomé

12.35 – 12.50 PM.

The Church of Santo Tomé (Iglesia de Santo Tomé) is another fairly quick visit, but it’s absolutely not to be missed.

The church dates from the 12th century and was built on the site of an old mosque.

However, the main attraction is not the church itself, but the famous El Greco painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”. It’s one of the most famous paintings in Spain and is considered one of the most influential paintings in history. A must-see in Toledo!

El Greco painting The Burial of the Count of Orgaz at the Church of Santo Tomé in Toledo Spain
El Greco painting “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” at the Church of Santo Tomé


1 – 2.30 PM.

Next, take a break from sightseeing and have some lunch. There are plenty of choices in the old town. Here are just a few suggestions that would best fit this itinerary location-wise:

  • Lo Nuestro Taperia & Restaurante. A nice local restaurant serving a variety of typical regional dishes.
  • Teteria Dar al Chai. This is a traditional teahouse with a beautifully decorated interior in Mudejar style. They also have a shady terrace. It offers a wide selection of coffee, tea, crepes, waffles, etc. However, this teahouse is usually closed for siesta (+-1-4 pm), so if you want to come here, try to get here at around noon.
  • La Marmita. A simple restaurant with authentic dishes, home-cooked style.
Spanish tapas at a restaurant in Toledo
Spanish tapas at a restaurant in Toledo

Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca

2.30 – 2.45 PM.

After exploring some of the Catholic churches in Toledo, it’s time to see another side of its cultural heritage and visit the old synagogue of Santa María la Blanca (Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca),

Originally known as the Ibn Shushan Synagogue, Santa Maria La Blanca is the oldest Synagogue in Europe that is still intact. The Synagogue was constructed by Jews in a Moorish style and was later converted to a Catholic Church.

Nowadays, it functions as a museum and is a popular wedding venue. You don’t need much time here, but the interior is nice to see.

Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca in Toledo Spain
Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca.

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

3 – 4 PM.

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes (Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes) is one of the must-sees in Toledo. The cloisters are beautiful – some of the finest architecture in the city!

Founded at the end of the 15th century by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando, the Monastery was built as a gratitude for the victory in the battle of Toro in 1476.

The chapel is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic temples in Spain and was meant to serve as a burial place for the Monarchs. However, this never happened (they are buried in Granada).

While there is plenty to explore inside, one of the most impressive parts is the courtyard. Take a walk around the space gazing down through the arches while soaking up the history and admiring the stunning architecture.

Good to know: Plan to spend around 1 hour here. There is an audio guide available that you can download right onto your phone. It will take you through the premises and provide context for each part of the monastery.

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo Spain
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

San Martin’s Bridge

4 – 4.30 PM.

If you want to explore Toledo a bit deeper, beyond the main monuments, you could walk to the nearby San Martin’s Bridge (Puente de Sant Martin).

This is a very picturesque 14th-century bridge over the Tagus, offering nice views of the city. Nowadays, it’s a pedestrian bridge and a popular spot to take pictures of the medieval town. In addition, there is now also a zipline over the river.

Alternatively, just admire the view of the bridge from the Mirador del Puente San Martín observation deck. We indicated these places on our map – everything is very close by. But the hilly streets might influence your decision on which places you ultimately decide to visit, especially if it’s very warm.

San Martin's Bridge in Toledo Spain
San Martin’s Bridge.

Royal College of Noble Maidens

4.45 – 5 PM.

Royal College of Noble Maidens (Real Colegio Doncellas Nobles) was founded by Cardinal Silíceo in the 16th century. It was a school where young girls of all backgrounds could get their education.

The College was considered one of the best colleges in Europe and operated until the end of the 20th century.

With its well-preserved architecture, the Renaissance and early Baroque-style chapel, and elegant courtyard, Royal College is worth a quick visit. If you don’t have the time or interest for all the churches included with the Tourist Bracelet, the chapel of the Royal College is worth it more than e.g. Church of the Savior.

Royal College of Noble Maidens - Toledo Spain
Royal College of Noble Maidens.

Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos (+ Marzipan!)

5 – 5.15 PM.

The Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos (Convento de Santo Domingo El Antiguo) is a little hidden gem of Toledo. Dating from the 16th century, it’s the oldest monastery in Toledo. El Greco is buried here and you can also see several of his paintings.

TIP: There is another good reason to stop here when exploring Toledo. The nuns of this monastery make and sell some of the best marzipan cookies in town. Even if the monastery is not open, you can ring a bell and when the little window opens, you place the money on the rotating tray and get some marzipan in return.

We first found out about this old Spanish tradition when visiting Seville where several monasteries still sell traditional homemade cookies. It’s always a unique experience, so don’t miss it! The marzipan at the Santo Domingo Monastery is absolutely delicious! Plus, it keeps an old tradition alive.

Toledo marzipan cookies
Toledo marzipan cookies.

Former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

5.30 – 5.45 PM.

The former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz (Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz) was built in 999 and is the oldest standing monument in all of Toledo. It’s sometimes called a mini copy of the famous Cordoba Mosque in Andalusia (southern Spain).

In the 12th century, the mosque was converted into a church and later became a private chapel.

The building is really small, but is rich in history and art and is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz in Toledo Spain
Former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz.

Puerta del Sol & Puerta Nueva de Bisagra

5.45 – 6 PM.

Puerta del Sol and Puerta Nueva de Bisagra are two very impressive medieval city gates of Toledo. These are just a quick photo stop, but well worth a small detour.

They are both located rather close to the Former Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, so don’t miss them. Depending on where you enter or leave the walled old town in the morning and the evening, you may also pass these city gates earlier or later in the day.

Puerta del Sol in Toledo Spain
Puerta del Sol.
Puerta de Bisagra in Toledo Spain
Puerta de Bisagra.

Plaza de Zocodover

6 PM.

Plaza de Zocodover is the main square of Toledo and is not to be missed. It’s a nice place to take a break after all the sightseeing and do some people-watching.

Interesting to know: ‘Zocodover’ name means “market of burden beasts” and indeed, in the old days, there was a market here where one could buy donkeys, horses, mules, etc.

This is also the place where you can catch a tourist train if you rather not walk too much. In that case, you may prefer to come here earlier and only visit a few of the main landmarks inside.

Zocodover Square Toledo Spain
Zocodover Square.

Additional Suggestions

Depending on your interests and how much time you have, here are a few additional suggestions of places you could visit on a Toledo day trip (just be sure to check the opening hours and adjust the itinerary if needed):

  • If you just can’t get enough of El Greco’s works, you may also want to visit Museo del Greco. This museum is a recreation of the master’s home and showcases many of his Spanish artworks. It’s located just 5 minutes walk from the Church of Santo Tomé so you can easily add it to this itinerary. You’ll need at least half an hour extra for a visit here.
  • The Museum of Santa Cruz is another nice little museum in the heart of the old town. Located in the former medieval hospital building, it has a very varied collection – from El Greco’s work and Roman archeology to Picasso.
  • Toledo Alcázar is one of the most prominent landmarks of the skyline of Toledo, so you’ll see it from a distance a few times. While not as impressive as from the outside, you can also visit the building. Nowadays, it houses a Military Museum.
  • Parque de La Vega. Located just outside the walled old town, this small park is a nice place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center. There are several cafés and kiosks here where you can get some drinks/snacks.
Courtyard of the Alcazar of Toledo Spain
The courtyard of the Alcazar of Toledo.


If you’re staying in Toledo for dinner, keep in mind that many restaurants in Spain only open for dinner quite late, after 7 – 7.30 PM. But there are also quite a few nice places that usually remain open the whole day. Here are a few suggestions:

  • El Trébol. Located close to Plaza de Zocodover and Alcazar, we already mentioned this tapas bar as a nice option for breakfast. Well, it’s just as good for dinner too (or even lunch, if you are in this part of town at that time). It’s an excellent quality spot for traditional local food.
  • Taberna El Botero, located close to the Cathedral, is another great place for a cozy, affordable, and delicious sit-down option. Here you’ll find a variety of meat and fish dishes and a cocktail menu. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, making it the perfect spot to decompress after a long day of exploring.
  • Madre Tierra is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. Located between Alcazar and the Cathedral, this restaurant offers a good selection of vegetarian food made from organic ingredients.

You can find all of these restaurants indicated on our map as well.

TIP: If you want to try some regional dishes, ask for carcamusas. This pork stew made with seasonal vegetables and tomatoes is one of the specialties of Toledo. It’s typically served as tapas, but can also be a stand-alone dish. Pisto Manchego is another specialty of the Castilla La Mancha region. It’s a vegetable stew, kind of a Spanish ratatouille, and is often served with an egg.

Pisto Manchego - traditional dish in Toledo Spain
Pisto Manchego.

Tips for Visiting Toledo

Here are some tips for your first visit to Toledo:

  • Go early. Toledo is a very popular day trip destination, especially during the high season (from May to September). Getting to the city early allows you to explore the small alleyways nearly all on your own before the crowds start rolling in. Take the earliest train/bus from Madrid to ensure you have a couple of hours where the city is at its most quiet and peaceful to explore virtually on your own!
  • Dress modestly. Toledo is home to many churches, synagogues, and mosques so if you plan to visit many religious buildings, it’s always best to cover up a bit, even if it’s summer. We recommend wearing clothes that cover your knees, shoulders, and chest. If you choose to wear shorts or tank tops, pack a lightweight scarf to tie around your waist or to drape over your shoulders when entering religious sites.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! As already mentioned, Toledo is a medieval town built on a hill. So you’ll be walking a lot and mostly on cobbled stones, staircases, etc. Comfortable footwear is a must!
Toledo old town streets
Toledo old town.
  • Extend your stay if you can. While a day trip is an amazing option for those short on time, Toledo has so much to offer and extending is always a great choice! Spending a night (or two) here is a great way to experience the city and its magical atmosphere without the crowds of day tourists. Plus, accommodation prices are very affordable. TIP: We recommend Casa Palacio Rincón de la Catedral, a beautiful Inn in a historic building in the center.
  • Use audio tours/apps. Toledo is rich in culture and history, but without some background, it’s often difficult to appreciate what you see. So if you are not taking a guided tour, make use of audioguides at the landmarks and/or download a self-guided city app. It provides additional context to all the places you are already exploring and makes your visit more special.
  • Bring earphones/headphones. If you choose to use the audio tours, you will need a good pair of headphones. If you go with a guided tour, these are normally provided if needed.
  • Taste some marzipan. A trip to Toledo is not complete without tasting marzipan, a delicious sweet almond-based dessert. Though marzipan is often associated with Christmas time, in Toledo, it’s eaten year-round. At Confitería Santo Tomé, they have been making these almond treats filled with sugar and honey since 1856. Or buy some marzipan from the nuns, as mentioned earlier.
Toledo marzipan at Confiteria Santo Tome
Toledo marzipan at Confiteria Santo Tomé.

So, this is our guide to visiting Toledo. We hope that it gives you a better idea of what to expect, helps you plan a perfect day trip to Toledo, and make the most of your day.

Have a great trip!

READ ALSO: Spain Bucket List (Top places & experiences not to miss on first visit)

More tips for your trip to Spain:

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Day trip from Madrid to Toledo (Spain) - how to visit and best things to do

Photos: Taylor Spinelli and


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